British Airways abbreviated my vacation — what am I owed?

Kunertus /

British Airways flight 68 from Philadelphia to London was canceled on July 8 — “technical” issues, as Brian Osborn recalls. It was to be the start of a 12-day vacation to Scotland, cut short by a faulty plane or two.

Osborn isn’t upset that his flight was grounded, or that the next day’s flight was also canceled after he had been sitting on the plane for several hours, or that British Airways couldn’t get him to London until July 11th, abbreviating his vacation by 72 hours.

No, he’s unhappy with the way the airline compensated him. Or more to the point, with the way it didn’t compensate him.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance. Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

His case exposes a problem that’s common with airline contracts of carriage, those passenger agreements that let airlines get away with almost anything. And it’s a reminder that schedules are nothing more than suggestions that an airline may, or may not, choose to keep.

So let’s get this out of the way, then. Here’s British Airways’ contract of carriage. And while we’re at it, a hat tip to EU 261, the European consumer protection law that applies to Osborn’s delays and cancellations.

The story doesn’t end with Osborn arriving in Scotland and enjoying the rest of his vacation. Oh no, that would be too conventional for this site. I’ll let him pick up the story.

Before our return flight on July 22nd, I was informed by SMS message that the London to Philadelphia portion of our flight was canceled, with no explanation why.

When I called customer support to get help, we were informed that there were no flights to Philadelphia that day.

The agent offered to refund our flight – so we could seek our own alternative travel arrangements – which is a ludicrous offer, as booking same day international travel is cost prohibitive.

Eventually, after arguing with both the agent and supervisor, I convinced them to book us on a plane to Newark.

But you know what the problem is with Newark, don’t you? It’s not Philadelphia. Osborn had to find his way back home, and thanks to British Airways, that would take a train ride.

“I have receipts totaling over $383,” he says. “My wife and I have lost three days of vacation, and not gained any relaxation from this vacation. I would like to be reimbursed for the costs to me, as well as compensation for losing three days of vacation, as well as the stress.”

He submitted the request in writing to British Airways (nice work).

As you probably know, a canceled flight to Europe means he’s entitled to EU 261 compensation, which is outlined in the rule (unless BA claims it’s an “extraordinary” circumstance, which it might try to do). The Amtrak tickets and cab fare must usually be approved in advance, but I’ve also seen airlines retroactively pay their customers when passengers incur extra expenses.

The pain and suffering? Good luck with that. Which is not to say Osborn doesn’t deserve something for his trouble — only that there’s nothing in British Airways’ contract that would allow for it.

Here’s how the airline responded:

I am sorry that your flight to London Heathrow was canceled and that you and your wife had to alter your plans. We know that our customers rely on us to run our services on time and to our schedule. We are very reluctant to cancel any flight but sometimes I’m afraid that circumstances mean that we have no choice.

You have two claim numbers now. Please allow 4-6 weeks for the processing of that claim. This claim will encompass the expenses you incurred.

Thank you for sending in your receipts. I have requested a check in the amount of USD266.00, which represents payment in full for all cab and the Amtrak receipts you submitted. This check will be delivered to you within 14 days.

We are not liable for any consequential loss a customer or third party may have as a result of delays or disruptions, so I’m afraid I am unable to reimburse you for food, wages, loss of time away. We generally direct customers to their travel insurance company who may be able to help.

My apologies again for the inconvenience caused. We know we operate in a very competitive market and genuinely value the confidence and trust you place in us when you choose to travel with British Airways. I am sorry you have been so disappointed. I do hope we can welcome you on board again soon.

As far as airline responses goes, that’s pretty routine, and maybe even a little generous. I can imagine an American carrier telling the Osborns they were on their own to get from Newark to Philly because, technically, they fulfilled their contract, and when they accepted the new ticket, they waived their right to any further compensation.

But I would like to pause for a moment and point to the consumer advocate flag flying high above this website. Something about this picture just doesn’t look right. I mean, how can any airline cancel or overbook a string of flights, removing three days of hard-earned vacation from a customer, and then basically walk away scot-free?

Then again, maybe I should be looking at this from an airline’s perspective? If it starts reimbursing customers like the Osborns for their missed hotel nights, then won’t it have to also pay attorneys for missed work time at $1,000 per hour? Or shell out big bucks for CEOs who couldn’t get to their destination on time and close a merger? Where does it end?

But protecting a company’s revenues isn’t my job. It is protecting your rights.

Osborn appealed his case to the Transportation Department.

“British Airways decided I was now eligible for an official compensation award of EU600 each for me and my wife,” he says. “Strange. Their original reply said I was not eligible for anything, but after they were contacted by the DOT, that seems to have changed.”

I like that ending much better.

Did British Airways offer Osborn enough compensation?

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185 thoughts on “British Airways abbreviated my vacation — what am I owed?

  1. Well, anything beyond his Amtrak and cab fare is generous (unless EU 261 applies; I have no idea.) Transportation carriers have never, ever, been responsible for whatever it is you planned to do once you arrived. This idea is not an airline-industry quirk, it’s pretty universal. Given the utterly enormous potential liability involved, it’s simply not feasible. (“I couldn’t close a $1B business deal because of mechanical difficulties!”)

    (Did he literally receive “no” relaxation for his entire eight-day vacation? What did he do? Mope the whole time?)

    As a side-note, every comprehensive trip insurance policy of which I’m aware would have re-routed him once his first flight canceled; he may want to consider it for his next trip if missed vacation days are that important to him

    1. Trip insurance would have paid him for the ruined vacation bookings (the ‘consequential damage’) but I would say that BA definitely owes OP a free roundtrip for a future vacation. This was not just one delayed flight but the kind of compounding series of mistakes you generally see on codeshared third World carriers, not nonstops from the US. Trying to fob him off in London with a demand that he pay walkup to return on another carrier is particularly egregious. This is exactly the sort of “over the barrel away from home” behavior that airlines are notorious for. He is to be congratulated for standing his ground on that point.

        1. John, these EC261 discussion here and in the forum are getting boring already. Why don’t we simply tell LW’s to contact refund me since they are our sponsors?

          1. I meant no more (pre) discussion – just send then straight to our sponsors so our sponsors can make money 🙂

    2. As a side-note, every comprehensive trip insurance policy of which I’m aware would have re-routed him once his first flight canceled

      Can you highlight such a policy and the language you believe applies?

      I’m looking at a Travel Guard Gold policy.

      Assuming this was not a weather delay, Trip Interruption coverage kicks in for:

      mechanical/equipment failure of a Common Carrier that occurs on a scheduled Trip and causes complete cessation of the Insured’s travel and results in a Loss of 50% of the Insured’s Trip length;

      The OP was delayed for “only” 3 days, not 6 days (i.e. 50% of 12 days) so that provision doesn’t apply.

      Trip Delay covers “reasonable additional expenses” for a 5+ hour delay. Which, if the delay is at the origin, I suppose should cover ground transportation back home and back to the airport 3 days later.

      I’m struggling to find any basis in the policy for claiming reimbursement for non-refundable reservations at the destination. Nevermind getting reimbursed for a new ticket when the airline refuses to re-route you on another carrier for a non-weather delay.

      1. It is my recommendation to go to a website like Squaremouth (a sponsor of this blog) and look at all of the policies. I have never had Travel Guard to come up as a policy option for me.

        For example, if the OP was unable to leave by 11:59:59 PM on July 8th, the Travelex policy would have kicked in since the OP was unable to leave after the Scheduled Department Date.

        2. the additional transportation expenses incurred by you by the most direct route to reach your original Covered Trip destination if you are delayed and leave after the Scheduled Departure Date; and

        3. Common Carrier delays resulting from inclement weather, or mechanical breakdown or organized labor strikes that affect public transportation;

        4. arrangements canceled by an airline, cruise line, motor coach company, or tour operator, resulting from inclement weather, mechanical breakdown or organized labor strikes that affect public transportation;

        5. arrangements canceled by a tour operator, cruise line, airline, rental car company, hotel, condominium, railroad, motor coach company, or other supplier of travel services, resulting from Financial Insolvency;

        6. being directly involved in a documented traffic accident while en route to departure;

        The policy feature of a TravelSafe policy states 12 hours.
        That was the first two policies on a quote…I am not going through every policy.

        Every time that someone post something about travel insurance stating the benefits of a travel insurance policy, you will post something about Travel Guard. There are other policies out there than Travel Guard…check them out at Squaremouth.

        1. Travelex sells at least 5 types of plans. I found the provision covering Common Carrier mechanical delays in 2 of them (TravelSelect and TravelMax) but not in the other 3 (TravelLite, TravelPlus, and TravelBasic).

          Was the cancellation because of a mechanical breakdown? Or some other issue (e.g. crew hours or capacity control)? If it wasn’t because of weather, mechanical breakdown, or a strike, then I don’t believe Travelex covers it.

          Also, if we’re calling this a Post-Departure event, then I don’t see any provision that would reimburse nonrefundable reservations at the destination.

          Note that even if the delay is covered, the additional transportation expenses are capped at 150% of the trip cost. If the OP booked their itinerary at a low price months in advance, last minute travel arrangements could easily exceed 150% of their original costs.

    3. Apparently EU261 did apply and he received 600 euro per passenger, 1,200 euro total or $1,500. Seems fair.

      Now, can WE get something like EU 261 here in the US? Why not just adopt it, word for word, in the USA? Just change the names from EU Member Country to Any State or Territory. If it’s good enough for the Europeans, why isn’t it good enough for Americans. And ignore all that crap about being too burdensome on the airlines. Delta, AA, United, etc. all still fly to Europe, so clearly they can handle it.

  2. My first question is: “DIY or did he used a traditional brick & mortar travel agent?” It is my recommendation to use a professional brick & mortar travel agent for international trips for events like this. A travel agent could have been your advocate in getting you on an earlier flight or etc.

    I am glad that the OP is happy with the compensation that he received. The OP is not going to receive compensation for losing three days of vacation and the stress…that is why you use a professional brick & mortar travel agent (to do the worry) and purchase a travel insurance policy (to get you another flight; loss or delay luggage; etc).

    As I have stated over the years, it is my recommendation to purchase travel insurance when taking an international trip. Like Sirwired stated, a comprehensive trip insurance policy would have been beneficial on this trip.

    1. I can’t agree that a travel agent is required for a simple US to Western Europe uncomplicated trip. A minimally experienced traveler should be competent to make that booking. My first international trip was

      inbound :RHO-ATH-CDG-LHR-BOS-SFO

      It was easy as pie.

      1. I agree that a minimally experienced traveler should be competent to make a simple booking for international travel BUT it is NOT the booking on why you should use a travel agent. It is the other services on why you should use a travel agent.

        I used to work for a company that had an in-house travel agent. If I had an issue (i.e. the flight was delay; the flight was cancelled; late to the airport due to a meeting running over or road traffic; etc.), I just call our travel agent and she took care the rest. I didn’t have to stand in line or be on hold or etc.

        One time, my wife and I had an issue when we were on a tour. I called (and sent an e-mail to) our travel agent to report the problem and let her to solve it while we didn’t have to worry about it; stress about it; etc.

        A good professional brick & mortar travel agent should be your advocate when you have travel issues on your trip.

        Carver, it is my understanding that you are a lawyer. I am sure that in some simple cases (i.e. minor civil cases) that a person doesn’t need you and they could represent themselves BUT it might make sense to have you there in case if something comes up that a person wasn’t ready, not prepared to handle; etc.

        1. The law is pretty complicated, and for a good reason, so it makes sense to have a lawyer nearby. Travelling on vacation shouldn’t be that complicated (although yes, sometimes it is).

          1. How about visas? That can be complicated especially if you are making multiple entries on the same trip to the same country. The type of visas. Etc.

            How about being stuck in a foreign country due to your flight being delayed, your transportation (van, bus, taxi) breaking down, etc. and you have limited Internet access…how are you going to find a hotel and/or transportation? Are you going to contact Chris Elliott and ask him to book a room for you?

            How about showing up at your hotel and you have no reservation? Do you think that the off-shore customer service dept of the online booking site that you used is going to help you? I don’t think so based upon the numbers of articles about these online sites on this blog.

            A travel agent is your advocate before, during and after your travels. A PROFESSIONAL travel agent provides value.

          2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a US citizen does not need a visa to travel to any western European country

            None of the “issues” that you mention are substantially more burdensome in a western european city, particularly a major one, than in the US.

            In fact, on my first European trip, I had a small snag in Heathrow between BA and AA. I walked from BA to AA. Got it straightened out and walked back to BA. Of course I had the good sense to arrive 4-5 hours early out of an abundance of caution.

        2. Sure, it makes sense in some cases to have me around. But in many cases, it’s just plain overkill. The cost simply isn’t justified. I suggest that in any field, law, travel, medicine, accounting, plumbing, etc, there are times when using a professional makes sense and there are times when its not.

          You don’t call you attorney to review every contract
          You don’t call your plumber to unclog the toilet every time
          You don’t call your doctor for every headache,
          but you could… 🙂

          and I suggest that for a simple US to Western Europe vacation, it is reasonable to DIY, but of course, you don’t have to.

          1. That’s right. For those simple tasks, you just contact Chris Elliott to bail you out. After all, his services are….free!

          2. I agree that you don’t call your plumber, electrician, doctor, etc. for the little stuff. I think that you will agree with me that the average traveler doesn’t travel to Europe (or Africa, Asia, etc.) on a yearly basis. Until passports were mandated for Caribbean cruises, travel to Mexico & Canada, the percentage of US citizens with passports were very low.

            The article did NOT state the international travel experience of the OP or the overall travel experience. IF the OP wrote to Chris stating that he asked BA to put him on another airline and was rebuffed then I will be inclined to think that the OP isn’t an ‘inexperienced’ traveler.

          3. Exactly,. Since he’s not an “inexperienced” traveler, that’s even less reason for him to use the services of a TA

          4. Where did I said that he isn’t an inexperienced traveler? I wrote “IF” the OP wrote to Chris stating that he asked BA (which he didn’t since it is not reported in the article) to put him on another airline and was rebuffed then I be inclined to think that the OP isn’t an ‘inexperienced’ traveler. Again, we don’t know the experience level of the OP.

            The article did NOT state the experience level of the OP NOR did the OP disclosed anything to Chris such as “I asked BA to put me on another flight”; therefore, I am inclined to think that the OP isn’t an experienced traveler.

            IF the OP is an experience traveler, I could agree with your point that a traveler could book a simple booking like from LAX to LHR.

            Like Clint Eastwood said in one of the Dirty Harry’s movies, a man needs to know his limitations.

          5. IF the OP wrote to Chris stating that he asked BA to put him on another airline and was rebuffed then I will be inclined to think that the OP isn’t an ‘inexperienced’ traveler.

            BA’s contract of carriage (which Chris linked to) does not list such a remedy as an option.

            9b3) If we:
            cancel a flight;
            delay a flight by five hours or more;
            fail to stop at your place of stopover or destination; or
            cause you to miss a connecting flight on which you hold a confirmed reservation;

            you can choose one of the three remedies set out immediately below.

            Remedy 1
            We will carry you as soon as we can to the destination shown on your ticket on another of our scheduled services on which a seat is available in the class of service for which you have paid the fare. If we do this, we will not charge you extra and where necessary, will extend the validity period of your ticket.

            Remedy 2
            We will carry you to the destination shown on your ticket in the class of service for which you have paid the fare at a later date at your convenience and within the validity period of your ticket on another of our scheduled services on which a seat is available. If we do this, we will not charge you extra.

            Remedy 3
            We will give or obtain for you an involuntary fare refund.

            We will give you additional assistance, such as compensation, refreshments and other care and reimbursement, if required to do so by any law which may apply. We will have no further liability to you.

          6. The contract does not have to quote local law – and interlining someone to another carrier where you cancel a flight is something you have a right to in and to /from the eurozone by operation of law, whether it is in BA’s contract or not – and its a lot cheaper for BA than paying Eu261 compensation . . . .

          7. Are you referring to EU 261 Article 8(1)(b)?

            passengers shall be offered the choice between…
            (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity;

            I thought [at least some] carriers were unfortunately taking the position that “comparable transport conditions” doesn’t mean other carriers.

            There are proposed amendments to EU261 that “[make] explicit passengers’ right to be accommodated on other airlines after a delay of [8 or] 12 hours.“, but these aren’t in force yet, are they?



            Also, if accommodation on a different carrier was even a possibility, wouldn’t the operating carrier be obligated to inform the passenger to comply with Article 5(2) ?

            When passengers are informed of the cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport.

      2. There are 3 BA (one codeshare) direct flights for this route. This is a no brainer.
        I am a TA and really cannot defend the views of other TAs that say they can do better than simply buying direct from a BA on this one. Unless you are a high elite or your fare class is above everyone else, you will wait, period.
        Please note that BA68 was a 788 Dreamliner. You cancel something that big on a peak summer schedule — where do you find 200 extra seats somewhere?
        What airlines usually have to do is repair it and fly it asap (even the next day).

          1. I simply have a totally different opinion on what to do with a PNR that is under airport control (taken over by the airline already) and I know they are trying their best to reaccommodate the pax. Inserting myself in the process might not be helpful. I don’t play the hero game. And I know my limitation. Sometimes a pax just gets real screwed like this LW. At least he is lucky to get EC261 comp.

            I like to laugh when TAs say they will wake up at 2-3AM to reissue a ticket. Really?

        1. Yes, summer season to Europe. Good luck getting a ticket endorsed as the other flights are booked, too. These big planes hold a lot of passengers. One doesn’t fly at the height of the season and then expect this with a flight that is booked in a discounted APEX coach fare…good luck!

      3. I would have flown SFO-LHR-ATH-RHO at the most there and back – and those extra legs add the potential for misconnects as well as stress. . . . and travel shock.

        Spend a few dollars more and get:

        SFO-AMS-RHO – KLM / partners


        SFO-FCO-RHO – Alitalia / partners.

        the easiest way to find the best routing anywhere is to check your destination for where you can get to nonstop from there, and then ‘back into’ the trip from your US point of departure – if you can get to JFK non-stop on Jetblue now as many can – you can easily get to most places in the world in one stop –

        1. Ahhh. But you only have 1/2 of the facts. I used an e-vip to upgrade to business class at no additional cost (note: I didn’t say “free”). The SFO-LHR route is laden with folks like yourself as well as business travelers who just outright buy front of the plane seats. It’s nearly impossible to upgrade on the route. By routing through Boston, I was able to upgrade when I bought the ticket.

          The choice came down to a direct flight in coach to LHR, or a stopover in BOS and fly business. Was an easy, easy choice for me.

    2. I doubt that a brick & mortar travel agent would have been able to help with this set of circumstances. The outbound flights from PHL to LHR were cancelled. Obviously, if there was an alternative way within their network to get to London, BA would have suggested it. Same for the return flight. I can picture the OP calling his travel agent from Heathrow. The travel agent would call BA. They would tell him that no other flight was available to PHL. He or she would ask about flights to EWR and BWI. BA would respond that they had seats to EWR. The agent would call the client back and ask if they were willing to fly to EWR. The client would agree to do so and thank the agent for taking care of him. End of story. There may be no real advantage to using a travel agent for a simple trip, even if the destination is overseas.

        1. I’ve had TAs shrug and say “What can I do about it?” I suspect a lot of people have had that experience. That’s why they are rare.

          1. In all fields, there are good ones, average ones, the mediocre ones and the poor & bad ones. That is why it is important to research the people that you want to do business with and find one that meets your needs, you feel comfortable with, etc.

          2. I and others have, for sure, but I believe bodega and Tony are referring to using a good TA, just like a good lawyer, plumber, etc. And I would agree with them on that point.

          3. Sadly, finding a good agent that deals with airline tickets is getting harder and harder. Most newbies don’t want to deal with airline tickets. I cringe where I read on the various agent forums of how so many just can’t be bothered to learn about what is the most used component of travel.

          4. I take it then, you are not seeing the “don’t want to deal” approach with cruises and hotels? If so, do you think it is because customers view flying as strictly transportation (for short flights I am in this category), vs. the “experience” associated with hotels and cruises?

          5. Air is a pain and very complicated. New agents, who are getting into the industry because they liked playing on the internet, think they can just go online and book their clients and be done with it. They want to go for the money (ha!) and many thought selling cruises was the way to go. That has lost luster. All-inclusives are what most want to sell. Most panic if you ask for an FIT to anywhere. Specializing is what many think is the way to go, so very few will sell the world any more. Sadly, those that sell packages, but don’t know air, often don’t know how to find the best options for clients, strictly booking online with vendors without knowing what to look for. Very sad. Lastly, booking your air online, doing it yourself, is fine. Just know that you aren’t seeing everything that might be available. I am leaving the industry after 30 years of selling travel and worked out keeping my GDS. I have gone online and because I know air, I can’t deal with the internet.

          6. I wanted to add, that the carriers are coming back to travel agencies asking for our business. They aren’t happy with online bookers as they once were. There could be a turn around, again, and agents get trained in ticketing. Things do go in cycles. I know of no new agent I would use but I do know many who have been in the business for a long time that I would use.

      1. “Obviously, if there was an alternative way within their network to get to London, BA would have suggested it.”

        …the check is in the mail

    3. Nah. You don’t need a travel agent for a straightforward east coast to UK trip. And if anything it would have made things more complicated as BA wouldn’t have been able to touch the booking and the agent would have needed to do the changes.

  3. I would still love to hear about one of these cases where the person sues in small claims court, wins a judgment, then has the sheriff (or whoever would do it in the state they are in) seize an airplane at the airport until the airline pays the judgment in cash to get the plane back.

    That would be a great finish to one of these stories…

    I would love to be at the gate for that announcement, “Eh, ladies and gentlemen, your flight has been delayed due to law enforcement activities”.

        1. My buddy used to be a process server. He has gone with the Sheriff to impound small private planes. The Sheriff would physically remove the propeller.

    1. I can recall a situation that happened in Boston about 30 years ago. A passenger had won a court judgement for several thousand dollars against American Airlines which the airline refused to pay. One morning, a moving truck pulled up to the door of the American terminal at Logan International Airport. A deputy sheriff came to the ticket counter and showed the gate agent a court order allowing him to seize any and all property belonging to American at the airport. The moving crew began their work by disconnecting and removing the computer terminals. That was enough to get the station manager for American to quickly come up with enough cash to satisfy the judgement and collection expenses (including the moving truck). The terminals were released back to AA. You don’t need to seize an aircraft to get paid by an airline. Taking the tools that they need to run their business is less dramatic and works equally well.

      1. Wasn’t Boston – Was LAX. I did it. TWA 727 was seized at 6am by a Sheriff – watching the Station Manager begging and borrowing cash from all the other airlines to raise $6000 in 1988 was classic . . .

  4. “If it starts reimbursing customers like the Osborns for their missed hotel nights, then won’t it have to also pay attorneys for missed work time at $1,000 per hour? ”

    Well, take a step back from the “we’re talking about airlines” for a minute and I say, Why Not? I’m sure that the many lawyers on this blog can address this better, but in “the normal world” wouldn’t a person be entitled to lost wages, additional expenses, etc. if someone made you miss vacation or incur extra expense because of their screw-up? We’ve gotten so used to airlines doing this that we think it’s OK and that any compensation from the airline is generous.

    1. That would really depend on the situation. If you injured someone in a car crash, they could get loss of wages if they couldn’t work because its a direct and foreseeable consequence of the injury, i.e. most people have jobs, if you injure someone they cannot work. Nothing unique there.

      But, in general if the damages are not reasonably foreseeable, e.g. the plane was delayed so I missed court and lost a million dollar case. That’s too speculative. The court would have said, well counsel, you should have taken an earlier flight.

  5. What rights under US rules are you protecting? Were they bumped? No. Were they stuck on the the tarmac? No. They did lose their luggage? No.
    So what US rules were violated? Care to explain?

    1. Were they bumped? Yes, their flight was canceled and denied boarding, I would call that being bumped. Were they stuck on the tarmac? Yes, did read the second sentence of the article? Actually since this flight was departing or arriving in an EU country so it was covered by EU 261. Are you suggesting Mr. Elliott’s sphere of influence/mediation should be limited by US law or territories?

      Did they lose their luggage? No, well done, 1 out of 4 ain’t bad!

      1. I suggest you review the definition of BUMPED before your write about it.

        Stuck at tarmac for more than 4 hours (Intl flight) without opportunity to deplane?
        Uh, wasn’t the pax deplaned and the flight cancelled? Duh.

        Again what US rules were violated?

        1. Were they stuck on the tarmac more than 4 hours was not the question you posed in your initial comment, so care to try again? Also, being denied boarding is essentially the same as a canceled flight, both have the same end result.
          I will ask the question again, what does US law have to do with this? I already pointed out, as did Chris, that EU 261 applied, so your comments add little or nothing to this conversation.

          1. Delayed in Tarmac and STUCK in Tarmac are 2 different things.
            You need to read the rules before you argue with me.

          2. Dutchess clearly has no idea what she’s talking about. it’s so laughable it’s not even worth debating.

          3. Let’s keep things civil, please. That means no mocking and no accusations of not reading each other’s posts or splitting hairs. This is for both you and Dutchess.

    2. I had the same question a couple of weeks ago when Chris wrote about the Atlanta to Bombay passenger who was delayed for 3 days.

      I believe you and some of your colleagues blamed either a stopover or award tickets for that passenger’s predicament.

      The implication was that this shouldn’t/wouldn’t happen to someone who pays for their ticket and doesn’t stopover…


      1. Yeah I did propose that “theory” because technically a STOPOVER
        is a lot different than a CONNECTION. With a connection you get stuck at an airport. With a stopover you get stuck in a city (where you last stopped). And since you are not technically in the airport yet checked in, then all the airline needs to do is notify you 🙁 Then you join the rest of the folks trying to make new reservations for award tickets. This may sound crazy but it is really crazy in real life.

        1. Yet this case proves that you don’t need a stopover or even a connection to get stuck for 3 days (even traveling between major airports served by many flights).

          1. Again different definitions. Airlines do not really consider you “stuck” in your own home base 🙂 But that is not the case here, really.

            There are only 3 Oneworld Flights from PHL to LON. So when a 788 is cancelled, then good luck finding 200+ seats after midnight. The next flight out of PHL is 6PM the next day. You are not going to fit 200 extra pax in that 777 especially on a summer peak season sched.

            Start busing to JFK since it has 12 flights vs EWR’s 1

            ALLIANCE* 02OCT-TH-1A NYCLON ET **
            1*O#BA 180 JFKLHR- 715A 655P 777 0E
            2*O#BA 178 JFKLHR- 815A 805P 744 0E
            3*O#AA 100 JFKLHR- 620P 620A#1 77W 0E
            4*O#BA 184 EWRLHR- 625P 620A#1 777 0E
            5*O#BA 112 JFKLHR- 640P 635A#1 744 0E
            6*O#BA 174 JFKLHR- 700P 655A#1 744 0E
            7*O#BA 2 JFKLCY 700P 715A#1 320 0E
            8*O#BA 176 JFKLHR- 730P 730A#1 744 0E
            9*O#AA 106 JFKLHR- 740P 745A#1 77W 0E
            0*O#BA 116 JFKLHR- 840P 835A#1 744 0E
            1*O#AA 104 JFKLHR- 905P 900A#1 77W 0E
            2*O#BA 172 JFKLHR- 930P 925A#1 744 0E
            3*O#BA 4 JFKLCY 945P1000A#1 320 0E

          2. There are only 3 Oneworld Flights from PHL to LON

            You are assuming non-stop flights only, aren’t you? By that standard, there are no OneWorld flights at all from ATL to BOM 😉

            It appears the OP was open to options other than PHL, since we know he returned to EWR at his own request.

          3. Maybe at that time he had given up and said to hell with BA, just get me back to the USA.

            I think people have very little understanding about the fragility of long haul route schedules. They are very far from certain and if you don’t have enough runs (multiple flights), then the risk of getting stuck increases.
            You can’t just say I’ll take the next one. If you want something better, pay the price and live in NYC area like I do 🙂

          4. That is my view on many routes. I didn’t like selling a certain carriers to Hawaii as they only have one flight a day. With full flights, if something happens, you could easily be days to getting to your vacation….or getting home.

          5. I thought you already retired.
            I just retired but will keep doing the travel consulting stuff.
            There’s not enough young people who can do this old stuff so I am still busy on the GDS.

          6. Not as fully as I hoped…hard to leave. Will be shortly! Newbies don’t want the hassle of airline tickets. Sad thing is, even when selling packages, they won’t know what they are selling and what other options might be there for their clients. Very sad.

          7. Most new agents are really just reading or using the same website the provider gives the public. It’s the internet generation, who wants to deal with a mainframe GDS?

          8. Your clients should want you to! I hear agents say, ‘Well my clients were happy with what I found’. Yeah, those clients are trusting you, but you aren’t doing all your can to make sure you are doing the best for them. Sad!

          9. i always have to laugh at advice about taking the first flight of the day, or only taking flights on carriers who have multiple flights per day. That advice makes sense to the guys who give it, of course, but it’s obviously very different in the US and Europe. Here at the bottom of Africa each carrier only ever has one flight per day – or even one flight every two days, depending on the airline and the destination 😀

          10. Don’t think so if he is really going to EDI and will be on OneWorld.
            Even google agrees bit dot y/1v24vrq

          11. You showed a list of nonstop flights from JFK to LHR. I merely pointed out that one can get from PHL to LHR on OneWorld in far more than 3 ways (by allowing for connections). Some of those ways even include a transfer from LGA or EWR to JFK.

            We don’t know how the OP was traveling from LHR to Scotland. But regardless, I count 12 BA flights/day from LHR->EDI so I don’t see where you are going with that.

    3. Rules are not an issue here. It is the ability of a carrier to protect a passenger. Brian was held up for 2 extra days just to maintain the revenue for British. They couls have easily rebooked the people on a different airline. There are no fees, there are no penalties, there is just a lot of work involved. His sin….he did not know better. I’ll bet Lindabator knows how to get the ticket re-issued in this circumstance.

      1. Yeah which one? All PHL to LON direct flights are already BA and US (a BA codeshare). And the LW final destination might even have been EDI since he said he was going to Scotland.
        You really think BA dropped the ball here? If this guy had the lowest APEX fare, then good luck getting an ENDO to another carrier.

        I lived in Philly as a young man. But I remember driving to JFK to take most of my Intl flights. The earliest flight from PHL to LON departs 6PM. So unless the LW was willing to schlep to NYC and take a morning flight, he had to wait almost another day in Philly and take your chances again. There are 13 Oneworld flights from NYC to LON and only 3 from PHL.

        If it was me I would have asked to be brought to JFK and take the 715 or 815AM flight. But that’s my choice not the LW’s 🙂

  6. Here’s my thoughts after reading this article a few times…
    1. Stuff happens… You just need to roll with it. If your itinerary needs perfection to work, you’re in trouble. Channel your inner Disney and “Let it Go” otherwise you’ll ruin the rest of your vacation (which it appears he did).
    2. EU261 applies for both cancelled flights so €600 is what he was owed under the act.
    3. Also covering the cab & train fare was exceptional.

    I’m not sure what else he wants… No one is going to compensate you for lost vacation time. Not even a trip insurance policy.

    I’m left to wonder… PHL is a US Air international hub who is a BA partner. By my count, between US Air and BA, the website show 21 daily routings to LHR from PHL. Why not ask to be rerouted?

    So, in short, yes he was compensated enough.

    1. “Why not ask to be rerouted?” It is my guesses are 1) that the OP was a DIY and wasn’t aware to ask to be rerouted andor 2) the flights could have been full since it was high season to Europe.

      “No one is going to compensate you for lost vacation time. Not even a trip insurance policy.”…that is correct except travel insurance will compensate you for non-refundable costs like hotels, tours, etc. that were lost IF there are any. Also, travel insurance could have got the OP on the next available flight from PHL or flying them to Newark, LGA, JFK, Boston, etc. to catch a flight to LHR so that the OP could have only miss no days or one day of their vacation.

      1. @ArizonaRoadWarrior:disqus I don’t disagree with your last paragraph… I was more addressing his feeling that BA should compensate him for lost time. Also, if he wouldn’t ask the airline to reroute, why would he ask trip insurance company? In my experience, you have to ask for it. They don’t just do it.

    2. I’m usually first in line to say that people need to be able to roll with the punches during travel…stuff happens. But losing three days off the beginning then having to find your way home is pretty bad. I can see where they would have spent a lot of their time scrambling to get things worked out, which is very different from just pouting that their hotel has the wrong view, or that they missed their dinner reservation.
      ETA- I do think they ended up being compensated fairly. But I also think this guy had a pretty legit gripe.

      1. I guess I’ve traveled enough internationally to realize that it rarely ever goes smoothly. You just need to be ready to roll with it and advocate for yourself. You never get more than you deserve if you don’t ask….

        1. Why does this LW need a consumer advocate? Anyone can file a complaint with the DOT or an EC261 Enforcement Body if the airline is behaving badly? All he needs is an address on where to file the complaint.

          There are plenty of webpages for something like this.

      2. Question: if the LW was flying to Hong Kong instead and EC261 does not apply, and he has delayed for five (5) days and gets ZERO compensation under the law, would you think that is fair or unfair?

    3. I agree that “stuff happens” but at what point, do you feel, that that attitude is insufficient? Three days lost vacation, obviously for you, isn’t that point. How about 5 days? 7? My point is that it will vary from person to person. Telling someone to “get over it” – I know you didn’t say that, but the “stuff happens” is the same thing – assumes that everyone has the same level of pain. Certainly, three days lost vacation and a “find your way home” attitude deserves something. And, in the end, they got it. I, for one, would be happy with the resolution they received. But the attitude of BA is obvious in the fact that they had to be reminded of the rules.

      1. Here’s my impression from reading the article a few time and having dealt with BA in the past, none of this was really their “fault” either. Stuff breaks, it does happen. This wasn’t like my flight Sunday that UA cancelled for their convenience. Both flights on the front end (we don’t know about the return) appear to have been cancelled because stuff broke.

        As far as the refund offer, its one that BA is required to make under EU 261. You just have to decline it and ask to be rerouted. It wasn’t … “figure out how to get yourself home” although that’s how the LW took it.

        1. Stuff does, indeed, happen. But in most areas of retail, or consumer goods, even if it’s not the seller’s fault, if their product broke, or failed to deliver, you’d expect to get compensated for the value of the item, or the time missed, some reasonable attempt would be made to “make you whole”. Not the airlines, though.

          1. Stretching a bit, admittedly, but if Home Depot sold you a faulty water heater and it “blew up”, flooding your basement. I bet you would have a good chance of getting compensated for time off work dealing with this.

          2. I’d bet you they wouldn’t…
            Also, if you purchase a dress for a dinner online and planned to pick it up the day of in one of their retail stores but there was a fire that morning and the store was closed, I don’t see Macy’s giving you anything beyond a refund.

        2. I only really have issue with your statement that it isn’t BA’s fault because things break. I EXPECT that the airline I’m flying does regular preventative maintenance on their aircraft, proactively ensuring that things to the largest extent possible do NOT break, rather than fixing them reactively, after the fact. That’s their responsibility. Sure occasionally things will still break for no discernible reason, but twice to this poor couple, at a loss of 3 days time off? I miss 3 days of visiting my family in Wisconsin, eh, I shrug it off. I miss 3 days in Europe? I get mad.

          1. @Mel65:disqus Ever have a warning light suddenly appear on your car even though you get the oil change regularly? An airplane is infinitely more complex and has a higher safety threshold.
            This guy had really bad luck and we don’t know the entire story from the airlines. This would have been a great case for Chris’s forums while he was at PHL… I think Tony and a number of other contributors would have helped him advocate for himself a little better.

          2. Even if you do all of the preventative maintenance (PM) on time and etc. there still can be breakdowns, problems, etc. You can take your car in for maintenance when required and something can break. You can reduce the odds by doing PMs BUT you can’t eliminate.

            I dealt with industrial automation in FDA regulated environments for several years…I had clients that had the best equipment in the world, doing maintenance and PMs on a regular basis and they still had breakdowns.

            Stuff happens…prepare and plan for the worst and expect the best.
            Like John Baker stated, we don’t have the whole story. Even if we had the whole story, it could be that the OP was just plain unlucky.

    4. Newark ain’t Philadelphia. Why should he have to ASK? Why don’t THEY fix the problem FOR him? Because they are uncaring, worthless SCUMBAGS, that’s why.

      Stuff happens? Wotta crock! Which scumbag outfit do you work for? A scumbag airline, a scumbag travel agency, or another scumbag entity?

        1. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing him refer to us travel agents who work hard for our clients as “scumbags.” If he cannot temper such remarks, perhaps he should not be allowed to respond at all, or have ALL his comments held until they can be edited.

    5. Stuff happens, but what about plan B? Risk management is a part of any good operation. That means that there should be 1 or 2 pieces of equipment that you can deploy in case of a grounding. This is especially important since planes are flying full all the time. You can’t take the stranded passengers and put them on another flight – there is no room. With a spare piece of metal a flight may get delayed until the aircraft gets to the airport, but eventually everyone gets where they are going. Modern airlines don’t practice risk mitigation. Their attitude is to just cancel the flight and leave the passenger stranded. Worse, this appears to have multiple faults. At that point you know that it is an operations problem, not just a one-off. BA also failed in that they didn’t inform the passenger of their rights under EU261. Fail, fail, fail.

      1. You seriously expect BA to keep an extra plane of every type they fly in every destination they fly to?
        Do you have any idea the cost of doing that especially when there are repair facilities?

        Interesting point on the EU261… They are required to have hand outs but i don’t think that they have to verbally tell passengers. I wonder if they had the hand outs…

          1. I expect every carrier to have 1 or 2 extra planes in their entire fleet. That’s just basic risk management. Especially since planes are an integral part of their operations.

          2. They do. When I worked for an airline we had 10+1 (spare) ratio.
            You simply have to understand what the means for this case.
            BA69 and BA68 are turnaround LHR-PHL-LHR B788 Dreamliner flights.
            One plane goes West and the other goes East. Take one out and then what? You will have 2 of them in the same place 🙂

          3. That is all part of risk mitigation. A major equipment failure is an expected gotcha. It doesn’t happen often, but enough that you should plan for it. And don’t forget that you can mitigate this in multiple ways. For example if a large aircraft goes out you could deploy a smaller aircraft PLUS put the remaining on other flights.

          4. It sounds good, but have you ever been at an airport when a 777 or a 747 has to cancel and the flight is full? I have and you couldn’t pay me to work there to do all that reaccommodating. After about 1 1/2 hours of reaccommodating our flight, the carrier did get a replacement plane in. That meant reaccommodating a second time.

          5. Now keep in mind that there are various types of aircraft. For BA to get an ‘extra plane’ that means moving things around and that takes time. Plus getting flight crews for that particular aircraft type.

      2. it’s just ludicrous to feel that every airline should have spare aircraft available (and multiples, at that, depending on the size/type!) “just in case”. an airplane/airline doesn’t make money unless a plane is in the air. there is just no feasible economic reason to have a plane chilling in a hangar waiting for something to go wrong in some part of the country. these are multi-million dollar engineering marvels. come on, now.
        do you have a spare car waiting in your driveway “just in case” yours doesn’t start in the morning?

        statements like this make me realize the stupidity that is out there in this world.

        1. @flutiefan:disqus – Failures have a huge cost. If EU261 rules were in place for the US (and enforced) then economic incentive just might be there to use spares. As an aerospace engineer with 30+ years experience (some of it in risk management) I can assure you that this is a workable problem. And you know what? In aeropace they do carry spares on satellites – either physically (extra satellites) or with carrier agreements (using bandwidth on another satellite). For work I don’t need a spare car because I have alternate means of transportation (bus, train, friends). In short, the risk has been mitigated. So why can’t we practice risk mitigation with something as simple as an airplane? I’m saying this as a system of systems engineer who just might understand the problem in spite of my “stupidity”.

          By the way, I noticed that your rebuttals of the women on this forum focus on personal attacks instead of addressing the issue with a counterpoint to their argument. For shame!

          1. “By the way, I noticed that your rebuttals of the women on this forum focus on personal attacks instead of addressing the issue with a counterpoint to their argument. For shame!”

            that’s hilarious.
            i AM a woman.

  7. Consequential damages are never (ok, rarely) covered by any company. Mainly because such damages are one thing to one customer (Motel 6), something else to another (Four Seasons), and the guilty party would have a third idea. Your freezer breaks and may be replaced but GE won’t pay for the lost provisions. If such damages were covered (and they fully paid the inflated claims), the cost would necessarily be distributed across initial prices and everything would become way too expensive. Better to avoid millions of arguments and lawsuits and simply share blame when something goes south. (And the law still allows suit in cases of medical, negligence and large damages … I think it’s a fair system.)

  8. “If it starts reimbursing customers like the Osborns for their missed hotel nights, then won’t it have to also pay attorneys for missed work time at $1,000 per hour? Or shell out big bucks for CEOs who couldn’t get to their destination on time and close a merger?”

    HA HA HA. These folks don’t take commercial airlines…. they go private jet.

    1. CEOs might, but an attorney billing $1000 an hour isn’t nearly as wealthy as you probably think. Not complaining, just pointing out a frequent misconception.

      1. The attorney billing $1,000 an hour probably makes less than six figures, in the case of a newbie attorney, well less. As an accountant I often billed out at $600+ an hour and made less than $75k. Nothing to sneeze at, but there’s no way I’ll ever get to fly in a private jet. Even *big* firm partners fly commercial.

          1. Respectfully no.

            An attorney (I assume working full time) who can command a billing rate of $1000/hr is not making less than 100k anywhere in the US. If you can command anything close to $1000/hr you are a very senior
            partner, shareholder, etc. My old law partner bills at $750 and hour. He is became an attorney in 1974 and routinely turns down work because he has to play golf.

            An associate, fresh out of law school, working full time bills at around $250-300/hr would command in the 150k-200k range. Less in some parts of the country, but if the attorney has a billing rate attached to his hours, he or she is not making less than 100K annually for full time work.

  9. If they are supposed to fly on 1 March, and the airline at the last minute tells them that they can only fly on 3 March, that is unsatisfactory. The airline should be made to fix the problem. 3 March doesn’t hack it.
    If I need an artillery barrage at 0900, a barrage at 0930 is gonna be worthless if my guys went out at 0900 and got killed because the arty was late.

  10. Well, if you looked at things from the airlines’ point of view, this would be a very different web site. In situations like this, where the flight issues are caused by technical problems and they canceled not just one flight but three, I think the passengers are entitled to something to make up for lost vacation days. MarkieA makes a great statement about this below. (But when the OP talks about reimbursement for stress or pain and suffering, they start to lose me. Just stick with the practical issues and the airlines might take you more seriously.)

    1. “…I think the passengers are entitled to something to make up for lost vacation days…”
      There are 299 seats on a 747-400 v2 that BA flies. I am sure that other passengers missed days on their vacations, meetings, etc. If the airlines pay ‘compensation’ for missing vacation days, business meetings, etc., the fares will be at least 2x to 4x higher than what they are now.

      What if the OP did arrived on time in London but there were storms that prevented him from getting to Scotland? Or there was civil unrest? An outburst of some disease (i.e. bird flu)? Or what if it rained everyday when you are on vacation? Stuff happens in life and you need to prepare for the worst and expect the best…AND IF something does happen, roll with the punches.

      In this case, if the OP purchased travel insurance, they could have not missed a single day. If the OP used a professional brick & mortar travel agent, the agent could have been their “advocate” in getting on a sooner flight, advising them of their options, etc. If the OP was a member of BA frequent flyer program or an oneworld elite FF member might have a difference in getting a flight sooner (there are benefits of belonging to a FF program).

      Even if the OP purchased travel insurance, used a professional b&m travel agent and was an elite oneworld member and/or BA frequent flyer member, it could have been three days before the next flight…please remember that it was July 8th…one of the busiest times to travel in the US as well as it was high season to Europe…there is a fixed amount of seats between the US and LHR…it could have been a supply issue in getting the next available flight.

      When I read the comments posted today by the various individuals, it reminds me of the story that I heard from a Zig Ziglar’s tape several years when his flight was cancelled in Kansas City and he pointed to planes in the hanger and wanted them to bring another plane out and etc. People should listen to that story and it will change their lives in regards to when stuff happens.

      1. Who says the other 298 people on the final plane had also been delayed twice before? How do we know whether the other flyers on the OP’s original fight weren’t able to get flights out sooner than the OP? What if there had been civil unrest, or bad weather, or disease, that caused delays? There’s no way to know whether being a BA FF would have gotten the OP help more quickly. Having travel insurance does not guarantee a successful claim. The airlines also know July is high season for travel to Europe, perhaps they should pay extra attention to the maintenance of the planes to try and keep situations like this from happening. We can “what if” the situation to death, but I’m focusing on this problem with this passenger.

        1. You can pay extra attention to maintenance but it is not a guarantee. When you are dealing with mechanical things, they will eventually wear out, break down, etc. As I stated in another comment, I dealt with industrial automation in FDA regulated environments for several years…I had clients (the who’s who of the food and pharma industries) that had the best equipment in the world, doing maintenance and PMs on a regular basis and they still had unexpected breakdowns.

          My ‘what-if’ were used for two things: 1) stuff happens;therefore, you need to plan for the worst and expect the best; and 2) IF this OP got to LHR on time and something went wrong, he won’t be happy.

  11. One would think that BA – ‘the worlds favorite airline’ — not!, and all the major carriers would be more dependable but I have heard story after story recently where people have been delayed for days. And they have the audacity to accuse the budget airlines of being unreliable!! Between my husband and myself recent trips on Norwegian and Spirit have been seamless and early!!!

  12. To all of you who call me an airline sympathizer on this site, I’ll have you know I voted No on this one. However No is on their initial offer. I think in the end he got justice.

  13. Even to read BA’s contract of carriage, it stops you and demands that you accept their website’s terms & conditions, haha.

  14. British may have conned you on your flights. It appears to me that Brian did everything on his own and separatly to boot. Our office gets tickets re-issued on other airlines under this circumstance. BA could have easily sent Brian and family over to a Delta or United schedule. They lose the revenue, so let’s screw up a family vacation instead. ANY legitimate agent would have insisted on insurance that would have covered all of this and probably had the vacation saved with a different airline within 24 hours of delay. Sorry, Brian, you are not knowledgable enough to do this on your own.

    1. My goodness. Brian isn’t knowledgeable enough to do what? buy a ticket.? Ask to be reaccommodated? And What would you do? Really?

      1. I have never, outside of disasters, had a client miss their vacation because the airline cancelled. We find the new flights, we get the airline authorizations, and we get a new ticket to the client. Even during the Jun / Jul hurricane, nobody was later than 24 hours to their destination. All hotels were already rebooked to the client’s desire. Buy a ticket? That was the least of Brian’s problem! Waiting 3 days to fly British was the problem.

          1. OK, the article says delayed 72 hours. That equals 3 days by my 2nd grade math studies. Any time that an airline has any situation, they CAN assign the ticket to another airline. Hurricane “Arthur” disrupts whole east coast, we had Irish change the tickets to go Pittsburgh Chicago Ireland on United instead of PIT BOS Ireland on Irish – they have no common code share. Client traveling on AF frequent flyer ticket from IAD to Dubai, we reissued to fly on BA through London – on frequent flier tickets no less – they have no common code share. Any airline can assign their revenue to another if the wish. It takes know how not rules!

          2. Emergency trumps fare rules, but fare rules trump a passenger’s view on what they think should happen.

          3. Rules do not apply whaen problems occur. They are meant to be broken.
            I always felt that for the years that I worked behind the Allegheny Airlines counter, that I would do whatever it took to reaccomodate the passenger. With the exception of the today’s junkie airlines like Allegiant, Spirit, and I am sure that there are more, No airline has turned us down on endorsing a ticket to another airline when problems occur. Delta may have gone via Paris, Lufthansa thru Munich, and so on. Inconvenient? Yes. Get me to the final destination faster than 72 hours? Absolutely! You have to know how to ask and what is available to ask for.

  15. A couple of thoughts:

    1. If they took public transit or an airporter from home to PHL, then may have gotten a small windfall from the Amtrak/taxi compensation, as they didn’t have to pay for any transportation home. If they parked at the airport or prepaid an airporter, then they did not.

    2. I’m confused by the comment at the end. BA’s initial response wasn’t a denial, it was, “wait and see.” When people misrepresent the situation like that, it makes me think that they are the ones who may have done something wrong.

  16. As of my vote nearly two hundred people say Mr. Osborn did not get enough. He’s been given $1760 (give or take a few bucks on the euro/dollar rate) which is probably well over half the price of his ticket. How much more would be “enough”?

        1. He said from PHL

          Where does he say that the next day’s flight was PHL->LHR nonstop?

          All we have is Chris’ summary. Which doesn’t rule out that he may have been routed PHL->EWR->LHR, or that he could have agreed to travel to EWR on his own, on July 9th.

          British Airways flight 68 from Philadelphia to London was canceled on July 8 — “technical” issues, as Brian Osborn recalls….

          Osborn isn’t upset that his flight was grounded, or that the next day’s flight was also canceled after he had been sitting on the plane for several hours, or that British Airways couldn’t get him to London until July 11th, abbreviating his vacation by 72 hours.

          1. Why didn’t he tell us he took the EWR flight the next day?
            Do you expect us to guess?
            Mike you can if you want. Maybe he went to LAX or Vegas to catch the BA flight to London from there? Who knows?

          2. We don’t have his unedited version. We have Chris’ summary which is presumably edited for space and focused to draw our attention to the most relevant details.

    1. If the OP wasn’t on BA186 on July 9th, he may still have been on BA68 from July 8th on July 9th 😉

      If you check the Event Timeline in FlightStats for BA68/Jul08, that flight wasn’t cancelled until 1:45am on July 10th.

      As late as 7:37am 8:59pm on July 9th, the July 8th BA68 flight was still having its estimated departure and arrival times updated. Then it was finally Cancelled 4 hours and 45 minutes later (27 hours and 30 minutes after scheduled departure).

      1. GMT/UTC or EST of PHL?

        He said he was on BA68 on 8JUL and that got cancelled – correct it did (after midnight I think)

        So he waited till the next day 9JUL to try again. But for some reason he did not fly.
        But there was no cancellations for the 9th. So what happened to him?
        My imagination wants to tell me that BA tried to fly BA68 of 8JUL on the 9th with a different flight #. BA 9605. But he was not on that flight 🙂

        He said he got to UK on the 11th. I assume he flew on the 10th.

        1. EST of PHL.

          Actually the FlightStats timeline doesn’t really make sense — the updated departure/arrival times are not chronological and are often in the past. Therefore we don’t really know what happened.

          I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that BA68 / 8JUL was technically not “Cancelled” on 8JUL, but rather delayed until 9JUL.

          And I also don’t think we can rule out the possibility that the OP was put on BA186 / 9JUL.

          1. Look at flightaware for BA69 and BA68 (since these are turnaround flight) for 10JUL. You will see 2 records.

          2. So? There’s even a BA69 flight on 9JUL and there are BA69 flights on 10JUL and 11JUL showing aircraft type = “Unknown”. What does that prove?

          3. BA68 09JUL left after midnight so it shows up on 10JUL.

            Doesn’t tell us anything about BA68 08JUL (and BA69 09JUL operated even though BA68 08JUL did not).

          4. Sure just pay the EC261 compensation to the few that will sue for it and the airline will be just fine.
            By the way when you say they have only 8, that means there will likely be an aircraft change to a 777 or something they have a lot of.

  17. Aside from the questions as to whether the traveler deserved compensation and if the amount was correct, what I find interesting is BA’s consistent refusal to fork over anything other than the cost of getting from Newark airport to Philadelphia. That remained the case until the traveler got the DOT involved and then presto BA quickly changed its posture. Congratulations to the traveler for persisting and finding the right button to push. How many BA clients have just as solid a claim but fail to find the button?

  18. What isn’t covered is what travel insurance is for to be reimbursed. How many times do people need to be reminded to PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE? Insurance doesn’t just cover illness, it reimburses travelers for exactly this type of event.

    1. Do you know exactly what the “technical issues” were? Which Covered Reason(s) of which policy are you so certain would apply? And what precisely would be reimbursed? Careful….

    2. No panacea Annie. That is not gonna work here. Don’t think the insurance company can do a better job than an airline under these circumstances.

  19. There are a million flights from the east coast to London every day and certainly there are plenty from New York. I know he was in Philly, but couldn’t British Airways have rerouted him on some other airline through New York, Boston or Canada or something? Did he really have to wait three days to leave? That is just obnoxious. Maybe British Airways is like Southwest and doesn’t interline with other carriers, but I doubt it. I wasn’t there but I sure would have raised hell about that and asked to be flown on another carrier. Airlines do that all the time.

    1. Reroute on what? Isn’t BA the airline with the most flights to London, their home base? What is real weird here is you have a relatively new aircraft, a Dreamliner, having a mechanical that took so long to fix. As a traveler I want to know why because this was a disaster of a schedule.

      1. Reroute as in send her on American, United, Delta, or any other airline that flies to London from the east coast. Or just send her on a flight out of New York, Baltimore, DC or Boston and pay for the transportation to one of those cities. Or fly her to Paris, Berlin, Madrid, etc. and then connect her on another flight to London. Waiting three days is just unreasonable. A similar thing happened to me some years when I was going to China. Delays on my flight going out of New York, entirely Delta’s fault, resulted in me missing my connection in Atlanta, so Delta rerouted me on United through Los Angeles. It took longer to get there but I didn’t miss more than 1/2 day’s time on the vacation. Seems like

        1. From BA’s website.

          Should you get to the airport and find that there has been a change to the operating carrier and you do not wish to fly with this carrier we will put you on our next flight on which there is space available in the same class on that routing or give you the right to a refund.
          If we:

          cancel a flight
          fail to operate a flight reasonably according to the schedule
          fail to stop at your place of stopover or destination; or
          cause you to miss a connecting flight on which you hold a confirmed reservation you can choose one of these three remedies:

          Remedy 1
          We will carry you as soon as we can on another of our scheduled services on which a seat is available. If we do this, we will not charge you extra and where necessary will extend the validity period of your ticket.

          Remedy 2
          We will re-route you within a reasonable period of time to the destination shown on your ticket using either our services or those of another airline, or by some other means which you have agreed with us can be used (for example, by rail). If you are re-routed, we will not charge you extra. If the fare, taxes, fees and charges for the re-routed journey are lower than the amount you have already paid we will refund you the difference.

          Remedy 3
          We will give you an involuntary fare refund.

          The above remedies are the only remedies available to you and we cannot accept any further liability.

          If after you have purchased your ticket we make a significant change to your scheduled flight time which is unacceptable to you and we cannot find an alternative flight that meets your needs you will be offered a refund of the unused portion of your ticket.

  20. BA certainly owed the LW the amount due under the EU 261 rule. Mechanical problems are not extraordinary problems for the most part. As to compensation for stress/suffering/etc. he is out of luck. I have had some peculiar delays in my years of traveling that make this pale in comparison. I got the compensation I was legally entitled to and no more—not even from an airline that held a plane load of passengers hostage on an over-packed and overloaded bus to avoid having to send us to a rival carrier. (We spent over two hours on that bus until an intrepid British traveler called the police to sort it out.) Glad he got the compensation he was entitled to as none of what happened was his fault.

  21. If the comp is in line with the EU rules then it’s fine (more than a US airline would do) – although I’ve had to more than once show BA the EU rules on a rebooking/rerouting. Providing train/taxi reimbursement is more than I expected.
    I feel like there is something missing here – how much notice was he given on the outbound “cancellation”? BA68 is the last flight out of PHL but there are two prior to that – the BA66 and a US flight I would think he had enough time to switch to? Three flights a day direct PHL/LHR with more alternatives from BWI, EWR and JFK the next day.
    Travelers should always keep alternative flight info with them if they book online or direct so they don’t rely on the airline. That said, I generally use/suggest a travel agent for international bookings – she has saved many a “canceled, strike, volcano diversion” and is worth the fee. With 24/7 coverage, toll free number and email option, this type of situation I believe could have been avoided. My friends recently had a Delta issue to LHR and lost 3 days and lots of money having booked online with little help during weather issue, cancellation, etc. and received no reimbursement.

  22. $600 per passenger PER delay or cancellation. He is owed $2400. 2 people. 2 cancellations.

    Not $600 total. Sue the ba$tards if they don’t pay!

  23. Everyone needs to look at their credit cards – our American Air credit card has a $5000 per person cancellation protection for every credit card purchased – and the document says: “A medical condition for which your doctor claims requires cancellation or postponement of your trip.” Thats some pretty open language . . . . many of us have better travel protection than we think we do – for free.

  24. When I started this process I was not expecting compensation – Many years ago I worked in the travel industry and I understand their liability and the general Airline attitude of “That’s what travel insurance is for!” What I did expect from a company such as BA was an apology – a nice letter – and if I was really lucky a few thousand air miles (since I am a member of their executive club).

    Instead I was met with silence. I filed in their online forms, did everything a compliant customer/consumer should do – and got no reply. When trying to call their support phone number (which I called several times across several days) I always got duped to a voicemail system – which was always full… so I couldn’t even leave a message.

    The only way I got them to respond at all was by publicly shaming them with tweets. I expected more from a company such as BA!!

  25. This story makes my blood run cold. To be treated like that by a legacy airline is beyond comprehension. If they cancel the flight, they need to get you to your destination ASAP, with apologies and hotel/food if needed. If I were flying with my husband and this happened, it WOULD ruin his entire trip because he would worry that they’d do the same thing on the way home. And guess what, he’d be right. If this isn’t a clear-cut reason to use a travel agent, I don’t know what is. I just wish I knew a competent one. We were stuck at Heathrow in London a couple of Christmases ago trying to get to Paris and I vowed to never book directly with a foreign airline again. We do not speak French and were completely at the mercy of Air France … who was at the mercy of the morons who run Heathrow.

  26. Not sure when they arrived at EWR, but Amtrak isn’t the only service to Philadelphia. They could have taken New Jersey Transit to Trenton for $17 and then SEPTA to PHL for $8. And it’s only marginally more to take a SEPTA line to a suburb in the area that might be closer to home.

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